• Seeks Special Court To Try Loan Defaulters
The management of Enugu based Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank Limited (UPMFB), at the weekend, said it granted a total of N565.584m credit facilities to 2,503 active poor Nigerians operating across various sectors of the economy in the first six months of this year.
This represented an increase of N114.402m or 25.35% over the N451.182m recorded within the first half of 2018, while the number of beneficiaries also rose by 389 or 18.4% from 2,114 in 2018 to 2,503 in 2019.
A breakdown of the beneficiaries, according to the statement by Abuchi Anueyiagu, head of its Public/Media Relations Unit, showed that a total of 1,459 or 58.29% of the beneficiaries were male and got a total of N265.012m or 48.25%. The balance of N300.572m or 53.14% went to females beneficiaries; as against the N257.045m received by 1,305 male borrowers in the same period of 2018.
The statement further explained that N50m of the total amount loan during the period was granted to 209 small scale farmers, as part of its determination to support the Federal Government’s food sufficiency and poverty alleviation programmes.
The decision to single out the farmers, the bank established by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, it noted, is in line promoting economic evangelization and emancipation of the poor in the state.
The statement quoted Charles Udeani, the bank’s Head of Credit, as assuring that the Umuchinemere MFB “is certainly doing well in the Federal Government’s Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme, as evidenced in the amount of loan, N50m, as a microfinance bank granted to small scale farmers in the Agric sector of the economy.”
This, he explained, shows a substantial increase from just N30m granted to operators in the Agric sector within its catchment area within a similar period of last year.
In recognition of its efforts in facilitating credits to boost agriculture, local production of food and the war against hunger, the bank was recently awarded the first position after the Central Bank of Nigeria’s assessment of loans granted to the agriculture sector by microfinance banks in the country.
The management, however, lamented that it could have done far more, but for certain obvious difficulties encountered, including the lack of adequate, efficient, effective and easily accessible and reliable national bio-data to cross-check or track borrowers.
This, Udeani continued, could have been used “to track borrowers, especially when they start defaulting in loan repayment and change their location.”
He also lamented the lack of special courts to speed up loan default cases, as well as clear cut legislation and policies to discourage loans defaults, which he noted, poses a serious impediment to offering credit facilities to potential borrowers. This, he continued, is a major problem to growing and developing the economy from the grassroots.
Societies where these deterrents are available, he stressed, have minimal loan repayment defaults because of the consequences, just as it helps to determine the credit rating of those seeking loans from financial institutions.